Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bestlaw

If your 2015 resolutions include optimizing your legal content service, you may be interested in Bestlaw. This is a free Chrome extension designed by Joe Mornin, a 3L at UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and computer programmer, to enhance productivity in WestlawNext. According to Mornin, the quest for perfect Bluebook format was the driving force behind his ingenuity.

Once installed, Bestlaw adds a toolbar that is accessible when you retrieve a case, statute, or law review article in WestlawNext.



Available features depend on the type of document retrieved, but include copying a perfect Bluebook citation with one click (currently available for reported federal cases), copying the full text with one click, adjusting readability for viewing on mobile devices, and sharing these documents via popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. I would review your licensing agreement before using that last feature, though. Speaking of restrictions on sharing, one feature I found especially useful was the ability to search for the document on free sources, such as Cornell LII and Google Scholar with one click.



As you can see, many of the features involve saving time by reducing tasks to one click or eliminating needless scrolling, such as jumping to footnotes or returning to the top of the document.

While there are some limitations, Bestlaw has received great reviews overall and is worth a test drive.

If you're wondering what's in Mr. Mornin's near future, besides spending countless hours studying for bar exam(s), he is working on versions for Firefox and Lexis.

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